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100,000 jobs with no takers – Government planning new subsidies to tackle labour shortage

Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä says Finland has a severe shortage of labour, and government needs to help supply meet demand.

Työntekijä Uudenkaupungin autotehtaan kokoonpanolinjalla.
Työntekijä Uudenkaupungin autotehtaan kokoonpanolinjalla. Image: Valmet Automotive

Finland has thousands of jobs available, but no takers. It’s not just the Helsinki metropolitan region suffering from a labour shortage, as Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä says the problem is now more widespread.

”I’ve toured through the provinces and everyone keeps saying the same: we have a shortage of labour,” Lintilä says.

Finland’s labour shortage has become a national problem: the country’s approximately 300,000 people unemployed don’t seem to meet with the 100,000 jobs available.

The demand for skilled workers has increased due to economic growth, an invigorated shipbuilding industry in Turku and Rauma, and Uusikaupunki’s automobile factory receiving new commissions. Uusikaupunki is expecting a thousand new employees by the summer. The forest and construction industries are also enjoying a boost.

“We’re going to have to think about how to tackle this issue and help people relocate to where the jobs are,” Lintilä says.

The minister says government is currently drafting a proposal. Lintilä says he hopes to offer solutions by the end of April. 

“It could be supporting those who choose to move with subsidies or increasing travel compensation,” Lintilä continues.

Immigrants a solution?

A key factor to the problem is that available jobs are simply too far away. The threshold to relocate across the country and leave relationships behind is high, if the opportunities presented aren’t attractive enough. Some industries are also in dire need of workers with the right skills.

According to the law, employers are allowed to hire people that live a maximum of 80 kilometres or a three hour round-trip commute away.

 “Eventually we will have to consider how to increase the employment rate of immigrants. At the moment it is unfortunately low compared to neighbouring countries,” Lintilä says.

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